Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The LACE Fairy - My New BFF

If you've followed my blog at all the last several months, you know that I've been so fortunate to find all sorts of wonderful laces and linens. Sometimes I purchase lace at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales or antique stores. At bargain prices only, LOL. Other times, the lace seems to find me..... through friends or acquaintances.

Today, The Lace Fairy worked her magic again. I was at work early this m
orning, before the farm office opened, and my friend and co-worker Jennifer walked in and plopped a box of laces down in front of me and said. "Here you go. These are for you if you want them." One look and I nearly started crying. I was shaking, laughing, exclaiming. Then I jumped up and hugged and thanked her. Let me tell you, I owe her BIG TIME.

They went straight out to my car, and when I got home after lunch, I began sifting through them, with camera in hand. Will you join me in exploring the box contents???

These are the boxES (I know I said box, but they were nested...), and our HELPER, Boomer. My dear furkid Boomer is 14 this month, and is still curious when Mom brings home New Things to Investigate. (and isn't he cute??)

As I pulled things out of the box, I laid them out in a rough grouping and began snapping pictures. They are not artfully arranged, the background I used was too light (hey! it was a matelasse bedspread, $4 at the thrift store last month).... and they are REALLY DIRTY.
Polka dots!! On the left part is a really cute polka dot bow. It's gonna look cute on a retro-inspired apron..... Nice purse frame. Don't know if the purse part is worth saving yet....

After I took these pictures, I started soaking the lace. Tonight I've been rinsing, drying and ironing most of it. The worst of the bunch is still soaking. Surprisingly, they are coming out very nicely! I love using tiny doilies or crocheted circles on which to build silk ribbon or ribbon flower arrangements on my CQ's... Now, sit down. Especially you, Allie. I don't think I've ever seen so much rick rack lace at once in my life. Isn't this TO DIE FOR???
And it washed up beautifully! What am I going to do with it all? Teaser: read on....
That yukky looking gray-green mass above actually turned out (after washing) to be a nice soft medium green. It's quite nice!

While many of the laces are really old, some only date back to the 1960's. My friend Jennifer said some of them were sewn onto (and later removed) from her dresses as a young lady in the 1960's. And the following lump was in a large baggie. It is beautifully-embroidered floral motifs on a badly-disintegrated black netting.

But, Oh! The possibilities....

Some of them will definitely be appearing in my work. And they may be appearing in yours too..... (yes, that's another teaser, LOL)
It seems that someone else had the same Motif Preservation Idea that I did. But can you guess what they mounted this on? If you weren't sitting before, please do so now. This is mounted on construction paper (yes, the schoolkid acidic stuff) with glue. HORRORS!!! I. could. not. believe. it.
Of course, I wanted to perform an immediate RESCUE. But the corner I tried to peel off did not fare well when I tried to detach it from the paper it was glued to. Maybe I should try soaking it off? (don't know if it's colorfast). Any other ideas, my friends??
Above: crocheted beaded purse. It's beautiful!

Our Challenge theme for the month of July at CQI (Crazy Quilting International, a Yahoo Group) is WINGS. Look at the butterfly variety above; sequined, embroidered, lace.... all vintage. And below is some butterfly-stamped embroidery cloth (a dishtowel?)

Below in the box is the rest of the lace I didn't photograph, plus some embroidered linen pieces.

Another lace pansy motif, mounted this time on black silk. Plus some salvaged trim (and a couple motifs) from an old pillowcase.

Back to the future..... isn't this still the best way we transfer designs these days, LOL??? (below)

And the last piece, rather poorly (in my opinion) embroidered....

This post has certainly gone on long enough. So, wipe the drool off your keyboard and listen up. When I am fortunate to receive such bounty, I always share. Therefore, I think it's time for another drawing!!!

Let me get these all cleaned up and ironed and sorted. In the next day or two I'll announce a contest. I'll make up two separate prize packages of stuff from this post, and show them when I announce the rules, OK???

I'm off to bed, to dream about lace....


Monday, July 27, 2009

CQ'ed Swap Tin & Thrift Finds

Last week I received a great package in the mail from Italy. It was from Simona T, who made me a lovely crazy-quilted tin for our Tin Swap at the Yahoo group, Crazy Quilting International. It is so lovely that I'll have to show you a picture and let it speak for itself.

Simona had even made a perfectly-fitting pin cushion, and included a lovely beaded hatpin, too. It is so gorgeous, I can hardly believe my luck!! And to top it off, Simona generously included some other goodies.

I can't wait to use that ribbon! And isn't the box so cheery and cute? I was just smiling all day! :-) Thanks so much dear Simona!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On Friday, we had our annual state holiday, Pioneer Day. In Utah, it commemorates the founding of the State by the original pioneers. At any rate, I had it off, but DH had to work (that happens when you work for a national company that doesn't recognize state holidays). So, I had to occupy myself until he got home. And I decided that meant a visit to the newly-expanded thrift store that is a couple miles away. I mean, I couldn't sit around the house and pine away, right??? LOL

Check out these vintage linens and lace items I found. There was a half a rack full of them, but some were way overpriced (for the quality), or were stained, or poorly stitched. I selected those I felt to be "cream of the crop".

OOOh - the mail just came, so I'm off to my studio .... got some tiny ribbon flowers that I ordered from overseas, plus the new issue of Quilting Arts, which has some interesting articles on painted/beaded trees, fiber cuffs, and more goodies.....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

CQ Retreat - Final Part

I meant to post this several days ago, but it's been a busy weekend. On Friday night the company my husband works for had their annual family picnic up in the mountains. It's about a 25 minute drive from here at a campground area called The Spruces up Big Cottonwood Canyon (just below Brighton and Solitude ski resorts). It was a beautiful, balmy evening up there, while down here in the Salt Lake Valley the temperatures soared to over 100 degrees (and same for the entire weekend).

Our contractors arrived early Saturday afternoon and began working on a few projects I have for them. One is replacing the wall in my studio that was damaged last year in the first flood (in August) when a pipe burst. The original contractor flaked out on us and I gave up trying to chase him down. So, now I've got someone reliable to finish it up, as well as expand my
upstairs hall closets and put bi-fold doors on them. He'll also tile my laundry room floor that was ruined when the washer overflowed and flooded earlier THIS year in February. We had to dig up and replace all the old style drains (that didn't work) and have new, to-building-code drains put in, which chewed up the floor. So when these projects are done, all will be nice and neat and tidy.

I've also started removing the old wallpaper border (maroon floral, very "eighties") in the master bedroom. Last year we remodeled all our bathrooms, and the goal was to do the master bedroom this year. So, I'll strip the wallpaper this week and paint this week or next (have to decide on a color first). The carpet and wood blinds are already ordered. And the poster bed is OUTTA HERE - as soon as I can get DH to haul it outside to storage (until we have a yard
sale later this summer). Today he replaced all the old smoke detectors and hung a bulletin board for me here in my office, so he's off the hook today, LOL.

Then on Saturday night we took DS & DDIL out to dinner to celebrate my son's birthday. We had a lot of fun. DDIL is pregnant, and their baby girl, London, is due September 1. We set the baby shower date for August 16 here at our house. I'll have to share all the preparations with you. :-)

And now, let's finish up the Crazy Quilting Retreat stuff. I wanted to show you the goodies I bought (not much; I was selling most of the off-class time) and the lovely gifties I was given. Also, I've got pictures of the CQ wallhanging I bid for and won at the fundraising auction AND the grand prize crazy quilt I won in the raffle.. Woo-hoo!!

First, let's start with what I bought. Below are lots of ribbons from Mangelson's, a local fabric and craft store (and restaurant and party store, and.....) The greens are mostly wired (and bought to make leaves); some ribbons are gifts for my DDIL who sews clothes & kid stuff for the local Farmer's Market, and some are for me for CQ. The white with pink baby feet on them are for the baby shower. You'll see what I do with THAT in a couple weeks....

Below are some vintage ribbons and trims from Elsie's Exquisites (left batch) and the beads, roses, cabochon and beeswax leaf I bought from Sherrill at The Bead Ranch.

The next stuff is (left) from The Daisy Den - couldn't resist that child's coin purse, and some of the delicious ribbons that Helen Gibb carries (right).

Before I show you the quilts, I have some pictures to share that I took of a purse that Tami Schmidt made. Tami and I met a couple years ago at the 2007 Omaha CQ Retreat and discovered that we were both big peacock fans. Well, no peacocks this year, but take a look at her lovely purse!

Normally I'm not a blue fan, but I do love this blue and brown. The main fabric is ultrasuede in a lovely brown and blue paisley print. Below is the back of the purse. Nice job, Tami!

And here's a close-up of the CQ heart on the back.

Below are some gift squishies I got from Karen South (left) and Freda Butler (right). They were both so generous and thoughtful, and I really appreciate the lovely fabrics!!

At the very bottom of the above photo is a Make & Take posie pin that I made in Karen Bristow's vendor class on Saturday night. I love it! She was so organized and well-prepared.

Below are some of the goodies I got from my roomie, Donna Johnson (the grouping on the left). The embossed velvets don't show up so well in this picture, but they are to-die-for paisleys, a martini glass, and some other lovely designs. The button was painted by Donna with Adirondak inks. The charms she did this way sold out in no time! And look at that dyed lace! Those colors are soooooo perfect!!

The star and dyed lace on the right are from Lisa Caryl. You can't imagine the color and texture of these items. And watch her blog for announcements about that star. I think she'll be selling those in her Etsy. When she lists them, RUN to get yours - they are so unique and gorgeous! And last but not least is the little heart in the lower corner. Martha Green - the goddess herself - made that and graciously gave her heart to me! :-) It now has pride of place on my Gifts from Friends bulletin board. Thank you so much, ladies. You are all so special to me!

So......... here is the Grand Prize Raffle Quilt. My photography skills (or lack thereof) do not do it justice, but hopefully if you click on the picture you can see it a bit better.

Below are close-ups of two of my favorite blocks on the quilt. The first one was done by Kate Hollifield. The border looks brown in the picture, but I assure you it's black, LOL. Isn't her work so rich-looking??

And the block below was made by Cass Salinas, who made at least 6-7 of the blocks on this amazing quilt. She is one of the most versatile CQ'ers I've ever seen!! Beautiful!

And to end the post, here are some pictures of the 3-block wall hanging I bid on and won (it was a fierce battle, but I beat out my friend Carol Kramer for it!).

I love browns, and this small piece will fit nicely in our home. I took close-ups of the three individual blocks for you.

That last one is my favorite. Yum, yum!!! AND IT'S ALL MINE, muaaahahahaaaa!! ;-)

Well, that's it for the Retreat. Waaaaah! It was so much fun. If you have the opportunity to go next year, don't miss it. It WILL be held again in Omaha on the second weekend of July. Start saving your pennies!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

CQ Retreat 2 - Fun Events & Classes

Well, your comments made me realize that I forgot a few things in my post yesterday. I never did show any pictures of the Fiber Swap or the Prom Dress Cut-Up (because I was doing them). However, I did snap a picture or two of the "Fashion Show" that some of the craziest ladies put on. Their fashions consisted of lovely ensembles gleaned from the donations to the Prom Dress Cut-up plus whatever stuff was in their suitcases.

Here Gypsy Kate leads off the show. Although we weren't expecting Kate to attend, her mother's surgery was postponed and she surprised us by showing up just minutes before the evening events began! It was good to see you, Kate!

Above, Nancy Kirk explains how the Fiber Swap will work. Basically, everyone brought 30 or more separate yards of a fiber, in a baggie. Those baggies were placed in a larger bag, which was circulated around the group, along with the baggies of all the other ladies. All at once! So, you're constantly getting a bag and passing a bag. When a bag comes to you, you pick out a baggie of fiber, add it to your stash (at your feet or in your OWN bag), and pass it on. Within 5 minutes, everyone has all sorts of fiber varieties. Cute idea and lots of fun.
Tatting Chic also asked to see the "Troublemaker's" Purse. That would be Connie's, LOL. Well, although I didn't have pictures of it from the Retreat, I do have pictures of it from our CQ International Contest. It was one of my absolute favorites, if not THE absolute favorite in the
contest. You can see why. Troub... I mean Connie added great rayon trim, plus a cool handle, which offset her exquisite needlework. Check it out:

The purse front is above and the purse back is below.

My class for Saturday was making a Fiber Collage postcard with Helen Gibb. I've taken several classes from Helen, as well as attending a retreat at her home a couple years ago. Like Theresa from Colorado ( about troublemakers! LOL) I'm one of Helen's biggest fans.

These are some of the finished goodies that Helen displayed for us. Wow, her beautiful wares sure get the creative juices flowing! Below is one of Helen's Fiber Collage postcards that we used for inspiration. Helen had prepared kits (image, background fabrics and all the trims) for lots of kits, and we were each able to select our own to assemble, Below are several finished or almost finished postcards from some of the students in the class; Helen had us stop at one point and go around to see each other's work (and snap pictures!). I'm sorry I don't know or don't remember who these lovely postcards belong to.

I was able to finish my postcard in class (with the exception of the zig-zagging around the edges. The print I selected was one of my favorites, and very cheery. Also, I couldn't resist adding two tiny lace flowers (can you find them?) that I'd dyed with potassium permanganate.

That night, Saturday, the fundraising auctions were held. First there is the silent auction, where items that were donated by vendors, attendees, or anyone else (usually smaller items like baskets of fabrics, books, small handmade items, and the like). They're set out on tables and you go around drooling and writing down your best offer on a slip of paper (with your name), dropping it into a bag by the item. When the silent auction closes, the bids are tallied and the highest bidder gets the item. Then the REAL fun begins, and one by one, the quilts and larger donated items are auctioned off. Here we see Vicki Clements doing her Vanna White imitation as she strolls around the room, showing off the lovely totebag donated by Janet Popish. There was lively bidding on this item!

By the way, the lady with the long white hair in the photo above is Karen Snyder Downs, who will be heading up the future Crazy Quilting Retreats. Nancy Kirk announced her retirement. There are discussions going on as to whether the Crazy Quilt Society (a non-profit group headed by Nancy Kirk) will continue, or whether a new non-profit will be formed (with an official Board of Directors at the helm to ensure longevity) to take its place. Watch for discussions about this. It's more just legal and accounting issues that need to be addressed; the average CQ'er won't see any difference except a possible name change.....

Above: lots of participation in the auction.

The hottest items this year were the memorial quilts made with blocks donated by volunteers and friends of Dieuwertje Kuijl of The Netherlands, who died last August. She was loved by all and remembered fondly. Here's a picture of Dee from the 2007 retreat - she was one of the fashion show "models", LOL! We miss you, Dee.

Below are the ladies who helped coordinate the RAFFLE quilts. Raffle tickets were sold for $1 each. Quilt blocks donated by ladies from CQ quilt guilds and online groups were made by these ladies (and others) into lovely quilts.

Left to right are: Mona Berning, Willa Fuller, Kate Hollifield and Sue Ockwig.

In addition to bidding successfully on a 3-block quilt, I won the Grand Prize quilt! It's a 12-patch beauty with work donated by many ladies. I will feature that in a separate post soon.

My class on Sunday was Machine Felting for Crazy Quilting (or some title like that). Our teacher was the lovely and talented Mary Anne Griffin. I'm also a big fan of hers ever since we had quilt blocks published together in the 2002 Quilting Arts Calendar. She was Miss April, I was Miss November. (Martha Green was at the Retreat, too; she was Miss June). But I digress......... here is our class project. Mine is not quite done (had to catch a plane home so I left early). The flowers, leaves and ribbon need to be tacked down and the Swarovski crystals glued in place properly. But I love it, and am sooooo charged up to experiment more with my Embellisher!! Thanks, Mary Anne, for a great class!

And then I got Karen South to snap a picture of Donna Johnson & I.

And in turn, I surprised her by snapping a picture of her! And our dear Freda Butler is on the right.
In the next post I'll share all the goodies I purchased and beautiful gifts I was given. And I'll get some pictures taken of the wallhanging I bought and the quilt I won.